The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

New program to teach leadership

By James Velten

The Office of Student Activities will offer a leadership program beginning spring term.

The Jaguar Leadership Institute is a pilot program that will consist of four programs, over the course of four years. The curriculum for the first year is the Emerging Leaders program.

The program is a non-credit bearing, no-cost course, open to all students. It is scheduled to begin the second week of the semester and ending the week before finals, said Cheryl Le Gras, director of Student Activities.

“We are developing a yearlong leadership program for students to be involved,” Le Gras said. “They can strengthen and enhance their leadership experience while here.”

Students must put aside two Saturdays and three hours a week for the course. The course is available for the spring semester, Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 – 3:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30-11a.m.

Students can sign up through Jagsync or email for more information.

“The second year they will participate in the program that continues to build on their skill set,” Le Gras said. “We would hope that they will take those skills and go to the point when they’re in a program where maybe it becomes more experiential.”

“We develop leaders that create stronger leaders for student organizations,” Le Gras said. “We found that same impact, even for our fraternity and sorority life. We found that same impact for getting students more involved in Student Government Association.”

Le Gras serves as a member of the leadership training. Art Olague, director of recreational sports, another member of the team, will teach some of the lectures.

“[I’ll] talk to some of the students about what it means to be a leader,” Olague said. “Helping with the Strengthsquest side of it more so than anything.”

All A&M-San Antonio freshmen were assessed using StrengthsQuest.

Strengthsquest is an educational program focused on leadership.

“Millions of people and over 600 schools and universities around the world have used this program to develop their greatest talents,” according to the organization’s website.

“We’re trying and working on becoming a StrengthsQuest campus,” Le Gras said. “It encourages students to work on their top five things they’re really good at.”

Text for the course is Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students,” a book that which the team believes student can relate to. As the course progresses, the team will look for alternative books for years two, three and four.

Students are required to attend two Saturday events.

“The purpose of the Saturdays is so they can meet people from the community,” said Le Gras. Community members will talk about their leadership experiences and how they coincide with what the students will be learning in class.

Olague added,” We’re also going to try to get some folks from within the community to talk to our students and really have some one on one time with them, not just lecture format.”

“This is part of giving you a holistic educational experience and not just giving you what you need in the academic classroom,” Olague said. “Tools that will make you more marketable as a graduate.”

Le Gras and Olague believe that the skills learned at the Institute should give students an edge finding jobs after graduation. According to the team, many companies are using Strengthsquest and “7 Habits” in their in-house training.

“If you can show these things on a resume for your potential employers to see what things you bring to the table, aside from your diploma, that’s going to create more opportunities for you as a potential employee when you graduate,” Olague said.

About the Author

James Velten
James Velten is a reporter at The Mesquite, and the Academic Program Coordinator and morning show DJ for KSYM San Antonio College Radio. He's the first Distinguished Graduate of the Radio, Television, Broadcasting program at SAC; class of 2012. James has done voice work and a finalist for Best Promo by College Broadcasters Inc. twice. He enjoys sitting in an editing bay working on audio projects. In the future, James wants to teach the future broadcasters of tomorrow.

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